Monday, June 08, 2009

Before I move on...

I often call myself, "The Queen of Movin' On." I ruminate over the reasons behind this self-label, thoughts such as: a philosophy of living in the moment; moving onto the next event, as the last one is now history; maybe life is sometimes just too painful in that moment, with a need to time warp to the future; ADD; and, yes, I'm sure I could think of more influences. At any rate, as I spent time reflecting on my past year, the days started whooshing by.  It starts with the minutes, then the hours slip by, and I've forgotten what it was I was working on. I'll forgot what to remember to do for the day, and then WHOOSH, again, the day is gone.
I know people can fain gratitude, and I am to be grateful for this life, as I have had so many reminders to be so. But sometimes my gratitude wains, and I become discouraged by life's challenges. Though, even in the midst of sorrow, I can be grateful. I am grateful for this life I am given. I am grateful for the people with whom God allows to share the path of this life.
Then there's that whole idea of being able to laugh at myself. Ha,   ha.
I have a friends, who is beyond extraordinary, and I spend a great deal of time with her. 
She blogs by the name of "Bella Art Girl." She's beautiful, creative and has a whole bunch of outstanding personal attributes. She is also a kick ass photographer. Yes, strong language, but a complementary term for the current culture. She also has her camera, frequently, during our events. Rarely, do I mind being photographed. I am rather a goof for the camera most of the time, and don't take myself very seriously in doing so. But sometimes, it's way fun having a photographer as a close friend. Well, Bella captured a good portion of my birthday last week, so I thought I'd let her words do their things, and the pictures, well, I'll explain gold lame-later.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Year In an Ordinary Life Pt. 2

So one of the reasons I have found difficulty in keeping current in posting a blog is that life just goes by too fast to even write about it. I hadn't even finished summing up my ordinary year when another fantastic day or two went zooming by. 
Where was I? 
 This photo was taken shortly after we drove through fire. That's another story.
Here we are at a park in Florence, on a playground.  I have spent a good portion of my life on playgrounds. My hips are a little snug on most playground swings now. I also get a little queasy sometimes, but on occasion, I remember to join in and play with the kids.

In September, we enjoyed a beyond spectacular day at Dorris Ranch
sharing the moment with Dan and Patty as the took their vows in marriage.
It was so beautifully captured by our friend Bella. 
I had only seen Patty from afar before Paul and I were married. She was away being a nanny on the East Coast at the time of Paul and my's engagement. But I still remember the lovely note that she sent welcoming me as her sister-in-law. That welcome has never ceased, and our love and admiration has grown into that of a kindred over these past decades.

A couple of weeks ago we stopped by my mom's place. As we visited, I asked if she had some old photos she could show the kids. They patiently sat with Grandma Lois and heard her stories about their great aunts and uncles, the good times and even tales of the bad neighbor kids she babysat sixty years ago. They saw pictures of my adventures when I was a kid, not realizing that photos such as these would also be a part of their history. Just a week or so after this, Van had an assignment in his archaeology class to research his family tree, so this little visit was valuable in more that one way.

Being a "stay at home" Mom does have it's advantages. One never know what antics will take place at my house, or in my backyard. 
The pool boy wouldn't serve us, but we somehow managed a "pina colada/five o'clock somewhere" moment a couple of weeks ago. These are the women that make the "stay at home" job not such a chore. Yes, we all love our men, but when there are moments like these, we are especially thankful for those men who are out working for such a fabulous American life for their ladies.

On, February 14th 2009, I launched an idea that I've had going on in my little head for a while. It's a combination of thoughts, ideas and experiences I've had for a while. For example, one day, I sat on my couch and as a woman was running by my house I shouted, "Lift your legs!" (emphasise on me being on my COUCH. Also, I could have only been shouting in my head) Something about Winter, SAD, a whole bunch of experiences  over my lifetime accumulated into this idea which I named, "LIFt," "Ladies International Fitness and Faith Training." OK, maybe it should be LIFFt, but that sounds funny. The "t" is actually a small "t" because it becomes a cross, while a capital "T" doesn't. 
My dear, sweet niece Morgan, helped design the logo. She is so gracious with me as to meet in Albany to work on the LIFt website "" 
I benefit from our meetings in many ways, and especially enjoy the "real time" with she and Owen. She is contributing her time and labor, and will manage the website, as our group gives information, etc., to contribute to the site's content. It's all been quite exciting to see ones idea come to fruition. I'm curious to know how it will evolve over the years. It's a good idea, that seems to actually be coming into play. But a good idea will only be as good as the community that is involved with it, and so far, it is going quite well. Now is the time where the hands on work of designing the organization will come into play. I am grateful to be the lead in this, and truly love the support this idea's been given on so many levels. 
 I will leave this ordinary year with this last photo. It's from LIFt's first "official" event, participating in "The Run for Life Challenge". Here I am with EK, who is a great teammate and eternal friend, sister. Here's to another ordinary year!

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Year In an Ordinary Life

I am absolutely amazed how quickly this year flew, with me in it of course. I like to reaccount my life each birthday, especially since my philosophy allows for the idea that every day is a gift, and just may be my last on the Earth. 
I don't know if I have fancy software to make the pictures I'm going to post fancy, but I am more "Plain Nancy" than "Fancy Nancy," so please bear with the "asthetic enough". It's the context of the photo, or story that's what important. 
So, I need to start with my man, or Paulie, as some call him and his great patience with me. I have such gratitude for all that he puts up with me. I could start with how I pile my clothes everywhere in our bedroom, or how often I lose things in "special" places. Perhaps I should mention my million dollar ideas, or statements like, "I want to go to ------(fill in the blank with some destination that involves a plane trip, hotel and rental car). Can we go to ------ soon?"(fill in the other blank which usually implies within the next month). 
So my "Sugar Daddy" is somewhat compliant with said requests as such requests are rather frequent. In November, Paul was "RIFfed"-a number, cog if you will, in a "Reduction of Force" manuveur by his former employer of ten plus years. Now, although not nearly as compliant with my requests,  this riffle in our life has not stopped me from my "I want to go to there" statements. His patience endures, even when I don't get things like, "Really, there is no more 'Nancy's Travel Fun Fund.'"
We're pushing twenty years of marriage, and without going all Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura on ya, I'll just say that we made that commitment to stay together no matter what. Now I'm going to go all out and say this staying together is strictly by the grace of God. But by the grace of God are we not another statistic of divorce. It's America, and the odds are against us. The story of my life includes this man, even though I have no clue as to what it means to be a good wife and supporter of my husband. This trying to fit the "Good Christian Woman" mold has never been easy, as I stumble and bumble through what it means to love another person. I do love him, and am thankful that he stays on this journey, year after year after year...

Here I am with little Miss Georgous, she's the one on the left (Now, of course I never call her that except for with the "accent" of the young man, Brian, who works at the River Road Fred Meyers). We are depicted here at a park  in Roseburg after yet another field trip. Well, this was a special field trip as it was the Umpqua Dairy Factory. My friend EK set up a private tour with our buddies led by one of the owner/operators. We had plenty of freebies and of course, a new appreciation for ice cream factory workers.
Just a couple of days after her 14th birthday(or was it Mother's Day) Em's came into my bedroom with ipod in hand said "Mommy, I think you'll like this song" and proceeded to set me up with Taylor Swift's "Best Day".  I got the gist of the song at about "pumpkin patch" when I started bawling:
I'm five years old, it's getting cold, I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home
I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop 'til I've forgotten all their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he's better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you

There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today

It's an amazing gift to be able to mother this girl, and although I take this job very seriously, I am bumbling and praying for wisdom to love her at the same time. 

Here's my boy with his sister. Their age difference can be problematic at times, but they do love each other dearly. He turned ten in December, and is too quickly leaving little boyhood. At times, he reminds me of my father, my brother, and of Paul when he's building or creating something. He bloosomed academicly this year as we attended "Classical Conversations" this school year. The boy is a whiz at English grammar, and absolutely loves identifying the structure and parts of the language. He also shared some hard times with me this year. In November, just a few days after his dad lost his job, his Godmother, otherwise known as "Auntie" was struck by a car while out on a walk with her baby. Not only did I have my own grief, saddness, and anger to deal with in this unthinkable accident with one of my closest friends, the kids went through their own process of determining the "Why?" of such a tragic event.
Thank God Auntie is still with us.
This woman having only been out of the hospital for days, literally, drug her body to Evander's birthday party. Believe me, watching a friend struggle so is no picnic, but the beauty in this woman, and the friendship we have with each other, and our families, is truly a gift from God. 

This is a typical picture of our familes together, Van and Lil side by side, and Emma herding Wilder. This day was a bit of forced fun as I am quite nostalgic in regards to strawberry picking. I spent a good amount of time picking berries with friends in the summers of my youth, and insist that everyone in my family gets the feel of the berries, the smell of the mix of berries and dirt, and that something that involves physical labor with the sun beating down on you (That last part sounds less romantic).
Here I am with "Straight Shootin' Linda."For some reason, she likes to spend her precious vacation time with us. It's quite easy for me to do so. She's a damn good cook for one. For every twenty times she's cooked, I have once. I'm not sure what that says about my abilities in the cuisine arts, but that whole romantic concept of food and caring etc., comes through with Linda. Oh, did I mention that she lets me ramble on and on when we invite ourselves to her Portland home? Our girls just when to the Taylor Swift concert together in Portland. Her girls gifted my Em concert tickets as a birthday gift. The girls went sans adults, and we moms seemed to do just alright with freeing our little birds.

When I was about six years old a neighbor friend of mine moved away. At the time, I'm not sure how well I knew her. I just had felt the loss of that friend not being there to play with me. When Auntie was hit by the car, it was that same feeling, she couldn't come out to play. This list seems exhaustive at times. Making friends, and them leaving. I used to like that song I learned at outdoor school, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." But they didn't teach us how difficult this is. If I make a new friend, there's less time for the old. But sometimes that old friend can't do the daily, mundane etc., because they don't live in the same town. But I do know that God is in charge of the universe and in charge of how these things go. So here is a picture of me and my friend Heidi, whom was introduced by another friend, and our circle of activities kept bumping into each other and eventually became a good friend, whom I again, had to let go away.
 Now, my life experience teaches me that every friendship ebbs and flows and has it's time for closeness and distance. But I sure don't like the distance. Whether it's my college friend who lives in Chicago, Truitt in Denver, Miss Jodi in CA, and the list goes on and on. I sure hope that in heaven, there are endless walks and coffees and dinners with such friends, and of course, Jesus will always be invited (oh, I wouldn't mind running, but I wouldn't have to). 
Now here I am with the "girls." "Old" Young Life kids with whom we have formed a bond of friendship that just seems to go on. This is the weekend that tall one there, introduced me to Facebook. Naughty, naughty. Facebook is like opening up a yearbook, and then actually interacting with the picture. Whoa. It's quite a world, that's for sure. I will safely leave my comments at that for now.

Babies, babies and more babies. This year brought three new "great" nieces and nephews.
Here's Em's with the baby I've seen the most, Owen. This baby is loved, for sure. I miss being the "Auntie" to help raise these babies, but am only able to see them from a distance. Facebook has made it fun to watch Owen grow. I guess I can be an internet Auntie instead.